The Dynamics NAV wall – are you going to hit it?

There is a big brick wall about to hit many NAV users in 2020, if they intend to do an upgrade to Business Central.

Today there are thousands of companies still using Microsoft Dynamics NAV, a huge amount of them have not upgraded in a long time due to the perceived complexity of upgrade or the costs involved.

Microsoft changed a great deal about NAV in their 2019 version, the least of it being the name change to Dynamics Business Central. The most obvious changes to the user was the new interface and the way they accessed the system; using a browser. From the technical side they moved the system into the cloud.

Moving into the cloud allowed Microsoft to make a fundamental change to upgrades. As the base system was now generated by them in the cloud, they could lock it down, this allows them to upgrade the base when they have a new version.  They do this upgrade twice a year and it brings many new features.

Since its launch, Business Central has had several of these upgrades and is now (in tech terms) known as Build 16 (or Business central 2020 wave 1).  Build 14, however is a very interesting one because this is the last version that will support a programming language called C/AL

Now for most people they wont care about build numbers or technical details like retiring C/AL, however if you are a NAV user then you better take note.  Microsoft have a support policy that means each build is supported for 3 years from when it released.

Now I can hear you asking, “why is this a problem for me, I’m still on NAV 20xx, I will upgrade when I’m ready”. Well, you see if you ever intend to upgrade then there is big brick wall in build 15.  If you are on any version of NAV then the chances are that you have had some, if not significant development done i.e. changes to the system to make it match your business.  This was what NAV was very good at. Your developments were probably written in C/AL.  In Build 15 of Business Central C/AL is no longer supported.

If you wait and decide to upgrade straight from NAV to Business Central 15 or above then all your code will need to be rewritten and that’s probably a big risky project, as its effectively a new Go Live rather than an upgrade.

So how can you get over this big looming wall? Well the answer is to get your upgrade done on build 14. This still has the old C/AL and the new AL language so you can take your time (14 will still be support for a few years) and sort out all the development you have had done, in a safe environment (and of course get your users used to the new interface).  This approach reduces the risk and stress and gets you onto the new platform where future upgrades are a tiny fraction of the time and effort of the old NAV days.

Time is ticking as when build 17 is out in 2020 build 14 will NOT be available anymore. The wall is coming fast for NAV upgrades get it done now!

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